Seimone Augustus was absent from the first Lynx practice on Sunday at Lifetime Fitness at Target Center. Not a good sign.
Candice Wiggins, another veteran guard, was sitting on the base of one basketball stanchion. She was in uniform and shot free throws, but otherwise just watched. Oh-oh.
On a day that should have been filled with hope and excitement as first-year coach Cheryl Reeve ran the team through drills, there was startling Lynx news instead.
Both Augustus and Wiggins, two of the team's best players, probably will miss all three weeks of training camp and the early part of the season at least.
Augustus underwent surgery Saturday at an undisclosed metro-area hospital to remove increasingly painful fibroids from her abdomen. Fibroids are the most common benign tumors for females.
Lynx officials expect Augustus to be out longer than Wiggins, who will have arthroscopic surgery on her right knee Tuesday. A small tear of the meniscus, revealed in a magnetic resonance imaging scan Saturday, will be repaired. Wiggins, who had been playing overseas in Greece, is expected to miss four weeks.
Wiggins had a similar procedure in September 2008 after her rookie season with the Lynx.
Augustus' career scoring average of 21.2 points per game is the highest in WNBA history; Wiggins led the Lynx in total points (446) and assists (88) last season.
Augustus, coming off knee surgery last year for a torn ACL, took part in the recent U.S. national team training camp in Connecticut and was going through hard workouts the Lynx staff asked her to do.
"She was playing well, but just began to have some pain, some symptoms," Reeve said.
The surgery was successful. "She is feeling very good [Sunday]," said Roger Griffith, executive vice president of the Lynx. "She will be in the hospital a few more days just making sure the healing has started and there are no infections and things like that."
Once Augustus is released from the hospital, the team will have a better idea when she will be able to play, Griffith said, but he expects her back sometime this season.
Griffith said Wiggins' surgery should be fairly routine. "She should be fine, she will just need a little time to let [the knee] heal," he said. "It is always a judgment call [with this injury]. Do you do something now? Do you do something later? She could have kept playing on it."
Lynx center Nicky Anosike played part of last season despite a torn meniscus.
But Wiggins and her doctors decided it was better to get the tear repaired rather than risk the knee becoming worse later, Griffith said.
Reeve also agreed with the decision. "[Candice] was hurting and playing a fair amount of minutes [overseas], and it just got to the point it just was too much," Reeve said. "It is in our best interest to have a healthy Candice, not a gimpy Candice trying to make it through the season."
The WNBA does not have an injured list, so the Lynx likely will open the season May 15 with nine healthy players. The league reduced rosters to 11 players last season.
"No question, you would rather have everybody 100 percent healthy, but that is not realistic," Reeve said. "I don't view [these] things as setback. They are actually opportunities for other people to step up. We've got to pick up for those players and not feel sorry for ourselves. All teams have hardships throughout the season."
Rookie Monica Wright, a 5-11 guard from Virginia, probably will get the chance to play more early. The Lynx took her with the second overall pick.
"She's climbed the depth charts pretty quickly," said Reeve, adding, "when you take two [key players] out, really everyone gets a little more time."
Which the Lynx hope will turn disappointment into progress.
"We have a flexible roster," said Reeve, who has maintained this rebuilt Lynx team can compete for the conference and league titles. "We can support some short-term injuries. We are not going to let a couple things at the beginning set us back."